With latest connections, works, the inter-transportation of the world, Steam-power, the great express lines, gas, petroleum, These triumphs of our time, the Atlantic’s delicate cable, The Pacific railroad, the Suez canal, the Mont Cenis and Gothard and Hoosac tunnels, the Brooklyn bridge, This earth all spann’d with iron rails, with lines of steamships threading in every sea, Our own rondure, the current globe I bring.
Lo soul for thee of tableaus twain, I see in one the Suez canal initiated, open’d, I see the procession of steamships, the Empress Engenie’s leading the van, I mark from on deck the strange landscape, the pure sky, the level sand in the distance, I pass swiftly the picturesque groups, the workmen gather’d, The gigantic dredging machines.
BOOK XXVI Passage to India 1 Singing my days, Singing the great achievements of the present, Singing the strong light works of engineers, Our modern wonders, (the antique ponderous Seven outvied,) In the Old World the east the Suez canal, The New by its mighty railroad spann’d, The seas inlaid with eloquent gentle wires; Yet first to sound, and ever sound, the cry with thee O soul, The Past! the Past! the Past!
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The Suez Canal was threatened, and though I didn’t know it then, German panzers and infantry were in position to lead the imminent invasion of Russia.